Written evidence from Belle Media Ltd (OLL 10)
Media is a
We have been interested in the potential legacy use of the International Broadcast Centre and Main Press Centre that is being built for the 2012 Games for well over 2 years. From this involvement we would make the following observations which we hope will be helpful to the Committee in its deliberations on the Olympic Legacy:
· Interest in using the MPC/IBC does exist, but is awaiting a firm offering.
· It is only now, with the establishment of the OPLC, that prospective tenants have had anyone to properly engage with in discussing the site.
· London is a major creative centre, employing many tens of thousands of people and generating billions of pounds for the UK economy.
· The creative sector is also a highly competitive international market and maintaining London's position and its competitive advantage should be an important national priority.
· The MPC/IBC offers an opportunity to create a new creative commercial centre that would help London retain its position as a leading international creative player.
· Changing models of production in a digital era open up interesting possibilities for shared physical infrastructure.
· The Games could be a useful catalyst to foster cooperation between the higher education sector in East London and London's creative industries.
· There is a window of opportunity to properly consider the options for the MPC/IBC site, but action needs to be taken over the next 6 months
· All players need to be encouraged to cooperate if the country is to maximise the benefit of the substantial public investment that has been made at the site.
From our discussions with a wide range of industry players Belle Media believes:
a) Whilst no firm tenants have yet emerged, there is genuine interest in the possible use of the IBC and MPC facilities from within the creative and media sectors in London.
As yet however we are still some 3 years away from the time when the site might be commercially available. Details of what exactly could be provided, at what cost, or indeed by whom they would be run, are only just emerging. It is therefore not surprising few companies have actively engaged in any detailed assessment of the opportunity. They await firm proposals about the site. All this however is completely understandable given the priority until recently has been focussed on delivering the Games. We are confident that with the establishment of the OPLC and its active engagement in the issues firm proposals will start to be discussed.
b) We believe the IBC building(s) presents a particular challenge but also potentially a unique opportunity to provide low cost studio accommodation and workspace serving both established linear broadcasters and new digital companies and entrepreneurs. The significant amount of space available will allow for a radical rethinking of how such studio accommodation can be used to better fit the needs of modern production and a more atomised production sector. We also believe some of the space can be designed to have wider use as multi-purpose performance space. We believe the options for the IBC space need to be fully examined to ensure the opportunity is not lost.
c) London is a major, indeed world class, centre for the creative industries. The city has built upon a strong historical tradition, across a range of creative industries, and has also benefited from long-term public support of the arts, theatre, broadcasting and film production, all of course centred on a world-class city. These interrelationships are a vital element in determining success.
it is also important to recognise that
d) London still of course has many advantages: a highly diverse creative sector (advertising, design, production, fashion, graphics, web, games, etc), one used to working internationally, with strong established players, high quality creative and technical staff and access to funding, but it also needs to ensure it has the right facilities, training, and support structures if it is to retain its position.
e) We believe that there are a number of opportunities to create new working relationships more suited to the high-speed broadband environment foreseen in Digital Britain. The Olympic Media Complex offers the space to create an entrepreneurially focussed media cluster fostering closer relationships between producers, creatives and higher education. Conversations have begun with a number of interested parties. Kay Hutchison has been actively involved for some time with Skillset's Legacy Board (Skillset is the Sector's Skill Council for the Creative Media) which has been looking at these issues and the opportunities in linking companies, colleges and universities and schools. These conversations now need to be built upon.
f) As we see it a key advantage of the IBC/MPC site now is the uniqueness of the timeframe. It is already a rapidly emerging as a physical reality but actually will not be available for commercial occupation until 2013. This actually gives the OPLC time to optimise plans of what now is a given physical space. The opportunity is thus very much there to create a vibrant commercial creative hub that genuinely brings a new approach to the way the creative sector operates as the country embraces a fully digital age.
g) In terms of timescale we believe nonetheless that it is also essential as part of the marketing of the facility to maintain the momentum that will be generated from the excitement of the Olympics. This excitement is an important asset. Planning should be directed at having an offering that anticipates moving tenants in as soon as possible after the Games - ie early 2013. Prospective tenants therefore need to know exactly what is being offered and under what terms as soon as possible- but certainly towards the end of this year.
The Olympics, and the infrastructure that is being built to support the Games,
offers a unique opportunity to create a dynamic new media workspace that would
significantly add to the facilities available in